WSU recognizes faculty making strides in health, technology

OGDEN, Utah — This week, Weber State University honored top faculty with the John S. Hinckley Fellow Award and the Exemplary Interdisciplinary Collaboration Award.

John S. Hinckley Fellow Award

Matthew Nicholaou, professor and chair of medical laboratory sciences, was named the 2023 Hinckley Fellow for excellence in teaching, scholarship and community engagement. 

Nicholaou emerged as a leader during the COVID-19 pandemic. His expertise in clinical diagnostics, microbiology and infectious diseases allowed him to assist with the university’s testing, identification and vaccination efforts throughout the public health crisis. 

During his remarks, Nicholaou said he was honored to be named among many past recipients he has looked up to during his 12 years at WSU: “I truly appreciate this recognition, and at the same time, it’s just who we are, that’s just how we work, jumping into action when we’re needed,” Nicholaou said of his college’s response to COVID-19.

He also noted collaboration and connections are “the most important part about Weber.” He regularly assists students in conducting and presenting research, which has led to many top honors at WSU’s research symposiums.

Nicholaou has served as the Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions representative to WSU’s undergraduate research department, a faculty senate member and a Dumke College executive committee member. He was named Dumke Endowed Chair two years ago.

Currently, Nicholaou is collaborating on a COVID-19 study, “Booster Epidemiological Evaluation of Health, Illness and Vaccine Efficacy,” with University of Utah professor Sarang Yoon and the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health.

Exemplary Interdisciplinary Collaboration Award

Professors from WSU’s Automotive Technology Program and School of Computing have collaborated over the past three years to create the Autonomous Vehicle Systems Program, offering a post-baccalaureate certification aligned with demands of the AV industry. Self-driving research vehicle

WSU awarded three professors who were instrumental in launching the program with the 2023 Exemplary Interdisciplinary Collaboration Award: Scott Hadzik, professor of automotive technology; Brandon Stevenson, associate professor of automotive technology; and Meher Shaikh, assistant professor in the School of Computing.

Responding to the emergence of AV technology over the years, the professors secured nearly $1 million in state funding to launch the certification program.

The professors worked closely with industry partners like Amazon, Firefly Automatix and Autonomous Solutions, Inc. to create the AVS training curriculum. Through these partnerships, the AVS program aims to grow students’ expertise in both computer science and automotive technology, and get them plugged into jobs and internships. The program also provides access to equipment that supports autonomous vehicles, robot operating systems and AV sensor technology. 

“Weber State is growing exponentially, and the collaboration that we have with automotive technology and computer science is really a collaboration that needs to continue to provide new opportunities for our students moving forward,” Stevenson said. “We’re really looking forward to how this industry grows.” 


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Bryan Magaña, public relations director